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Impact of the black-capped marmot on floristic diversity of arctic tundra in Northern Siberia



Impact of the black-capped marmot on floristic diversity of arctic tundra in Northern Siberia



Arctic Antarctic & Alpine Research 33(2): 204-210



The impact of black-capped marmots on arctic tundra vegetation was examined by descriptive and quantitative methods in three marmot home ranges. Vegetation in the home range core area (main burrows) differed from the peripheral zone (secondary burrows, paths, scratching areas) or from marmot-free tundra area. In main burrow plots species richness, diversity, and equitability were low. In the same places graminoid abundance were increased, whereas dominance of shrubs and presence of cryptogams (bryophytes and lichens) were declined. Some forbs were more often found around marmot main burrows. Some of these are rare and listed as protected species in Siberian Arctic tundra. This suggests that through activities such as burrowing, trampling, and excretion black-capped marmots modify microrelief and soil properties, which influence the floristic structure and composition of the arctic tundra.

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